The wizard on the uptown A train kept to himself, mostly. Apart from the occasional tinny jangle of bells which were hanging on thin leather straps from his combination perambulation/prestidigitation & sorcery staff, the wizard remained peaceful and silent. Where had his travels taken him, I wondered. Judging by his long, matted, gray beard and his ashen feet exposed through leather sandals – magical Birkenstocks? – his journeys have not taken him near a cool stream or foot bath. And judging by the plastic shopping bag he clutched, at least one of his merry, magical adventures brought him to STAGE DELI, perhaps for a measure of mead or, as the bag announced, "Our World-Famous Pastrami Sandwiches, Stacked a Mile High."
At 14th Street, the train cleared out a bit and the wizard rested his wizardly laurels in the "priority seating" section. It is a little-known but implicit rule that the New York City Metro Transit Authority defines the hierarchy for priority seating as follows (in descending order):
- the blind
- the elderly
- girls with crutches
- pregnant white women
- pregnant black women
- war veterans (excluding Desert Storm and Spanish Civil War)
- white wizards
- gray wizards
- enchanted spiders
- pregnant hispanic women
- james garner
Around 34th Street, the wizard pulled a copy of Jest Magazine and began reading the masthead with great, wizened consternation. A few moments later he flipped to the cover, which featured a drawing of Michael Jackson wearing an environmental filter mask in the shape of little boys' underpants (!!) and the wizard inspected it for a few moments, then cast a Spell of Mylde Amusemente on himself with a +3 Polite Chuckle. I think all the other train commuters would agree: this was the best/only wizard we've ever seen.
[Addendum: someone emailed me about this self-same wizard. Apparently, he's a bit of a local sub-celebrity, and was the same wizard who was attacked by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the Star Wars: Episode I premiere, for eating a Filet-O-Fish. That photo on his web site must have been taken a while ago, because his beard has definitely seen better days. I appreciate his commitment, though.]